Izek Smithson

The Shard of Altea is small, barely 40 miles in any direction and lightly populated with fewer than 10,000 citizens. Heavy forests carpet the rugged terrain of deep fingers and steep valleys leading away from the only city of any real size, Altea. The remainder of the population lives in small clusters of homes tucked deep in the undergrowth, typically centered around mining, logging, cross-roads, or springs. It is a quiet corner of the world and the citizen’s like that just fine. Altea has a high number of rifts for such a small plot of land, dozens of them dot groves and basements and mountain tops: the fortunate thing for Alteans is that the vast majority of the rifts are one way, taking people away but not allowing access. It is this imbalance that allows the human inhabitants to leave in peace. That peace was shattered when a large band of orcs rampaged through a newly opened rift. They made large inroads, destroying towns and villages before being pushed back by a combined force from Altea along with a few mercenaries that happened to be present. Many casualties were taken before the band fled through another rift and many atrocities were committed by the male orcs. Izek was the result of one such defiling. Many of Izeks’s ilk, half-orc and half-human, were left in the woods to die or smothered outright at their birth, months after the band has left, he was one of the lucky few. His mother and father were loving parents and treated him as if he was their own, never making him feel responsible for the devastation his birth marked. As Izek grew older and stronger he naturally followed in his father’s footsteps, helping around the forge and learning to craft weapons. Once he was old enough Izek began to realize that he would never be considered normal or allowed a normal life, that his parents were the exception to the rule of acceptance in Altea. He struggled along on his own after his mother died but it was clear to him even at that age that he had to go experience life on the outside. This realization coincided with the death of one of the mercenaries, now old and weak, who originally fought off the orc hoard. Izek had grown up listening to his tales of daring and the glories of the Sky Shields. It seemed natural to him that after the mercenary died that Izek would return the old man’s shield and mercenary colors to the band of men. Once there he joined up with band of warriors, his first assignment to escort a caravan and reestablish a long abandoned fort.

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